Cave Canem Foundation Records

September 9, 2014

By Nancy Kuhl

The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library is thrilled to announce that it has acquired the Cave Canem Foundation Records. Among the most important and influential African American Arts organizations, the Cave Canem Foundation was established in 1996 by poets Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady to “remedy the under-representation and isolation of African American poets in Master of Fine Arts programs and writing workshops across the United States.” According to the foundation’s mission statement, Cave Canem “is a home for the many voices of African American poetry and is committed to cultivating the artistic and professional growth of African American poets.”
A pioneering force in shaping 21st century African American letters, Cave Canem has long sponsored prominent programs including an annual summer fellows’ retreat, regional workshops, poetry prizes, readings, and panel discussions. The organization has published anthologies including, Gathering Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem’s First Decade, edited by Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady (University of Michigan Press, 2006), and The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, edited by Nikky Finney (The University of Georgia Press, 2007).
An incomparable record of the African American poetry community of the late 20th and 21st centuries, the Cave Canem Foundation Records contain paper and born-digital office files and records including correspondence, financial reports, and operational materials documenting Foundation activities such as fundraising, governance, programming, and publication projects from approximately 1999 to the present.
The Library has also recently acquired the Cornelius Eady Papers (see an announcement about this related collection here: New Collections: Cornelius Eady Papers) and the Toi Dericotte Papers.
For more information about the Cave Canem Foundation visit:

Image: Mosaic from the vestibule of the House of the Tragic Poet, Poempeii, Italy.